19 October 2004

Google 'saved' Australian hostage:

John Martinkus was seized in Baghdad on Saturday, the first Australian held hostage in Iraq since the US-led invasion.

But his captors agreed to release him after they were convinced he was not working for the CIA or a US contractor.

He was reported to be making his way home to Australia on Tuesday.

His executive producer at Australia's SBS network, Mike Carey, said Google probably saved freelance journalist Martinkus.

'They Googled him and then went onto a web site - either his own or his book publisher's web site, I don't know which one - and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision,' he told AP news agency.

The other part of the Martinkus story is the increasingly shameless fabrication by the Foreign Minister of Kleenex, who announced Martinkus had ignored embassy advice and gone to a dangerous area of Baghdad.

Martinkus was abducted outside his hotel opposite the Australian embassy. Expect the customary blather explaining this discrepancy. I'd recommend the minister learn how to use a search engine but that would clearly be adopting the tactics of terrorists.

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